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28 Summers

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By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of '69: Their secret love affair has lasted for decades -- but this could be the summer that changes everything.

When Mallory Blessing's son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he's not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It's the late spring of 2020 and Jake's wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party. Cooper's friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere -- through marriage, children, and Ursula's stratospheric political rise -- until Mallory learns she's dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

432 pages, Hardcover

First published June 16, 2020

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About the author

Elin Hilderbrand

94 books34.3k followers
Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.



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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,911 reviews
Profile Image for BookgirlonGoodreads.
614 reviews33 followers
June 10, 2020
Unpopular opinion ahead. I did not like this book. I enjoy a good beach read, and I don't expect them to be great literature, but this one fell short for me. Elin Hildebrand has made a name for herself writing books set on Nantucket, typically with a romance, and her latest novel follows this same pattern. I've enjoyed her books in the past, so I was excited to get an ARC for her latest.

She does a great job, as always, of describing summer days and nights, including descriptions of summer meals, flowers, beach scenes, and ocean breezes. The problem is with the plot and characters. The situation between the two star crossed lovers, Jake and Mallory, doesn't make a whole lot of sense - there is never a concrete, truly believable reason as to why they cannot just be together all the time and must only be "Same Time Next Year" lovers. Since the whole book is based on this premise, it has a shaky foundation. Further, Mallory is depicted as a commitment-phobic flake and Jake is portrayed as a man completely without a backbone. On top of this, their romance happens while Jake is married. There is little to no examination of any guilt either party might feel about this.

The writing style felt uneven also. At the start of the book the story has a narrator who refers to Jake as "our boy" and Mallory as "our girl" and gives little side comments about them. This narrative device disappears after the first quarter of the book, never to be seen again. Likewise, the story goes back and forth between Mallory's POV and Jake's from year to year...then suddenly, far into the book, is from Jake's wife's POV. The whole cadence of the narrative style was uneven.

The story itself had potential. The concept of a romance that exists in a pure state in the minds of the lovers due to the fact that they never share real life with each other is an intriguing concept. Do they really love each other, when they don't really know each other? Do they only love the idea of each other? Are they unable to fully give love to others in their lives because they are holding back due to their fantasy relationship? These are all great questions. Instead of really exploring them, Hildebrand gives us recaps of what was happening in the news every year for 28 years (that got old fast for me), descriptions of life on Nantucket, and the perplexing inclusion of political statements that have no bearing or purpose in the story other than to tell the reader that the author is a liberal democrat.

This was a disappointing read, which started out as mildly intriguing but got more and more annoying as the book progressed. Thank you NetGalley.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,203 reviews40.8k followers
July 15, 2022
I feel sad. I’m deeply sad. I am just sitting on the floor, giving blank looks to the walls for at least 40 minutes. I feel like somebody vacuumed the last pieces of my energy. I liked the book and I didn’t like how it made me feel.
I always enjoy Hilderbrand books, taking you a marvelous tour around Nantucket: she can sell me house with her photographic, detailed descriptions, help me smell the salt coming from the sea, the hot sand covering my feet, soft breeze brushing my shoulders, make me hear the sunbathing mother calling their children who swim a little far to join her for picnic.

When I read the blurb about forbidden love story, I knew this book would break my heart so bad. There is no need to be clairvoyant to realize it: and as I expected, it did, it hurt me a lot.

Normally I don’t like to read about cheating or lying couples and of course I always feel bad for both of the women: who has been cheated and who has been labeled as other woman.

But... at this book, I really loved the characters so much and the journey between 1993 and 2020, the pack between two lovers: Mallory and her brother’s best buddy Jack to spend only 3 days and repeat their special ritual every Labor Day, their inseparability, their routines about doing exact same things, their thick and special bond make you cry and you feel the knife stab deeper in your heart as they part their ways after three days later to return back to their lives, on families, careers, realities.

Till one day Mallory gets sick and tells her son Link to call a number which belongs to Jack who is now the husband of Ursula DeGournsey running for presidency.

I loved the characters. Interestingly you don’t choose a part at this book: everybody is right from their side of the story.

The writing was also heartfelt, extremely poignant and beautiful but as I said before it was depressive and intense. And of course because of Ursula’s special occupation (!?) it was more political than the author’s other works. And from the beginning we know how the story will end. So that fact made me lose my interest but I was already hooked with the characters and 28 years long secret summer love premise.

I was expecting to read a feel-good, summer read but right now, I don’t feel any good and during my read, I already consumed a dozen paper rolls so there is no tear left to shed for me. I feel just numb.

I’m giving four hiccuping, sobbing, weeping , red rimmed stars! I think I should keep sitting on the floor without moving till someone carry me to the other room and give me a glass of Chardonnay to break my shitty mood.

Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.6k followers
August 20, 2021
“This is for you, Mal. My hardheaded woman.”

Captivating and poignant, 28 Summers provides a thought-provoking look at what happens when the heart’s desires are given free rein for three glorious days a year. No matter what. A storyline this longtime Elin Hilderbrand fan found to be an emotional powerhouse, stacking up as one of her best yet. I smiled, I cried, I swooned, I dared to hope. My adoration accompanied by one little caveat; this book decimated my heart.

Hilderbrand continues her unwavering love letter to Nantucket between these pages, transporting readers to a cottage set amongst the dunes, on a no-name road, where the Atlantic Ocean serves as the front yard. The beachfront cottage bequeathed to Mallory upon her Aunt Greta’s passing provides the perfect opportunity to escape the grime and disappointment that’s been her life in New York City.

Mallory’s first Labor Day on the island brings guests: her older brother Cooper (love him!) and his two best friends, Fray and Jake, for a bachelor weekend. A few mini-disasters and a host of selfish behavior find Jake and Mallory finishing off the weekend alone. There’s no denying their chemistry or that their newfound feelings will extend beyond the long weekend. Yet, neither Mallory or Jake is willing to make the compromises necessary to explore the possibility of a relationship. Promising instead, same time, next year, no matter what. On ode to the film Same Time, Next Year, which becomes a part of their annual tradition.

“Can’t we just pretend that we’re the only two people in the world and that this weekend is going to last forever?”

What makes Mallory and Jake’s journey, spanning 28 summers, problematic is the central question it poses—is deceit, or going against what’s right, acceptable for love’s sake? Compounding the moral ambiguity is watching Mallory and Jake make one decision after another that pushes the possibility of something more than one meaningful weekend a year further from fruition. Which means watching as their daily lives unfold with what feels like the wrong people. There’s a heart-wrenching yearning threaded throughout and a desire for the couple to say the hell with it, and really give it go. And yet, you have to wonder if the natural ebb and flow that accompanies any relationship would eventually dull Mallory and Jake’s shine.

It never ceases to surprise my husband what a complete and utter crybaby I am when it comes to movies, news stories, or heck, even commercials. Although, I’ve found it takes a lot for a book to move me to tears. An occurrence I can count on one hand. And, I’m not sure if pregnancy hormones also played a role here, but I BALLED my eyes out for the entirety of the last chapter. I’m talking couldn’t see, had to stop and blow my nose, sobbing. The farewell to these characters proves to be a shattering, although moving, conclusion.

At the end of the day, 28 Summers is about a couple who finds lasting love on their terms.

*THANK YOU to Little, Brown and Company for providing a review copy in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts. I loved this book so much, I’ll be adding a personalized copy to my Hilderbrand collection. If you’re interested in doing the same, they’re available here through Nantucket Book Partners.
Profile Image for Mary DeFusco Cobb.
120 reviews13 followers
June 22, 2020
Why must we make summer, fun novels political?!! WHY?! Oh did I already ask, WHY??? I hated this book. I’m sorry, but every single character was unlikeable. The main character, Mallory, who is this beautiful smart kind amazing inspiring teacher, is someone who ultimately has no back bone and is truly a tragic character in my mind. If you are of the Conservative Republican mindset, avoid this book with all your fiber and being. It will draw comparisons to real people (Supreme Court Justices) who were found innocent in real life, to guilty as sin made up characters in the book. It will praise women liberation, and women rights, but have the main character an adulteress who never finds it within herself to have more self respect than to just be happy alone or find someone unattached.
Oh, also, it throws in every single controversial political topic in ONE BOOK and discusses the issue with minimal insight, and obviously very one sided.
I hope there is someone else like me who found this book a total disappointment. It was a tragic love story in my mind, that had characters full of flaws and no one truly good or honorable.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,960 reviews485 followers
May 18, 2020
What will I be talking about during the Summer of 2020? How in her twenty-fifth novel, Elin Hilderbrand once again takes me to Nantucket and leaves me an emotional wreck.

Inspired by the film Same Time, Next Year, 28 Summers tells the tale of Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud who meet one Labor Day weekend in Nantucket, the chemistry is instantaneous but each person recognizes they are different places in their lives and agree that each year they will reunite in that last week of August. As each year passes, their love survives amidst all the changes that life throws in their way.

I wouldn't have thought this book would have created such tumultuous feelings within but it did. A story about an affair between two people shouldn't make me cry but it has. I couldn't help but be pulled into Mallory and Jake's lives and I did want them to finally be together. As each year passes and Hilderbrand relates the news events that had us talking each of those 28 years, it seemed like time had stopped itself.

Make sure to use lots of sunscreen because this beach read is going to keep you glued to your towel!

Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads review published 17/05/20
Expected Publication Date. 16/06/20
Profile Image for Farrah.
221 reviews576 followers
July 18, 2020
☀☀☀ 4.5 𝙨𝙬𝙚𝙚𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨 ☀☀☀

I don't ever read books of this genre so my review should be taken with a grain of salt - or sand! -since I have nothing to compare 28 Summers to.

I adored Mallory and Jake's secret relationship! It was so touching and uplifting! I found them both somewhat emotionally stunted and I doubt their love could have survived beyond their Labour Day bubble but it was perfect for them.

I enjoyed watching the progression of all the characters over three decades, and I also enjoyed the displays of friendship, forgiveness, grief and acceptance.

What I don't enjoy is political propaganda in a fiction book but I wasn't 𝙩𝙤𝙤 bothered by it here just because it was used to reflect Ursula's character and I didn't feel the author was trying to force feed me her views.

So I guess my only complaint about this wonderful book is the ending. Besides the fact that I found it slightly, err.... corny is that I think that had the 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 chapter not spoiler-ed the 𝙡𝙖𝙨𝙩 chapter then it would have been more effective.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,820 reviews478 followers
July 6, 2020

Summer is here when Elin Hilderbrand has a new book out!

28 Summers is a different story and not my favorite one of hers.

Unpopular opinion here-->


I've some very mixed feelings about Jake McCloud. I got mad at him a lot of times. Why did he marry Ursula DeGournsey? More than half the time they had nothing in common. To me, he married a memory of a girl that at some point was nice.

Jake didn't respect his marriage or Ursula enough to tell her the truth and leave her or divorce her. I hated how glorified cheating was portrayed in this book. Jake cheats, Mallory cheats, Ursula cheats, Bear cheats.

How would you feel if you realized your partner has cheated every year since you have been together with someone else? Ursula didn't care except for Jake's actions affecting her career and the possibility of him becoming the next President of the USA.

It nagged me that Jake and Mallory never felt guilty of what they were doing. They just waited to see each other "Same Time Next Year" and family be damned. Their affair goes on so perfectly that Jake's daughter never learns her father is a cheater.

In addition, Jake and Mallory have a pact. A phone call telling the other one that a wedding or a child was coming. But, Mallory had to find out about Jake's wedding and child, not by Jake calling her or did I miss it?

I hated that Mallory was portrayed as flaky, commitment-phobic and insecure. Although, as a teacher she was great. I can see how the kids would love her. I liked that she loved her Nantucket home. She was happy with what she had. Me, not her, wanted more for her. She deserved so much more.

Now, why did I say I had mixed feelings about Jake at the beginning of my review? Because I really liked him during those first phone calls with Mallory. I like his fight for his sister's disease. I like that he came to see Mallory in the end (although, he waited one day instead of flying right that second).

I do love Elin's writing. I get to experience Nantucket through her eyes and summer through her words.

I hope her next book is a winner for me.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Denise.
509 reviews371 followers
June 22, 2020
I always say that it isn't summer until I've read the newest Elin Hilderbrand release; however, as 2020 is the "summer of COVID" and everything in New England is canceled, I should have taken it as a sign and skipped over this one, as this was my least favorite Hilderbrand book to date.

As soon as I saw a new release coming, I pre-ordered it without even reading the blurb or any reviews - my first mistake. 28 Summers is based on the classic movie "Same Time Next Year" (which the main characters in the book watch every summer ugh), and it is a foray into a one-weekend-per-year affair, and the dramatic ways it complicates their lives, and the lives of those they love. Enough said, as the title is self-explanatory after you know the premise. Just a big no for me. From the prologue, you immediately know how it's going to end, and come on, you know these types of "love stories" never have a happy ending.

To further add insult to injury, the wife of one of the main characters is running for President, so let's throw politics in the mix. I've said it before and I will say it again, reading is my escape from the "real world," and anytime an author heavily espouses his/her political views in their work, it immediately turns me off, and this book was over the top in every way. For a book that strongly touts women's rights and liberation, to have the main character be a woman, who has no real sense of self-worth, cheating with a married man every Labor Day weekend for decades is perplexing and rather insulting as a woman. The main characters were so selfish and illogical in their choices, and whereas I am normally enchanted with Hilderbrand's descriptions of Nantucket - in this book, they seemed overly pretentious - there was an overabundance of name dropping in regard to people and restaurants, etc., and it just didn't work.

I did enjoy the summaries of every year at the beginning of each chapter, but sadly, that was the extent of my enjoyment. If you're expecting a light, feel-good beach read as the beautiful cover suggests, you're going to be sorely disappointed. There is nothing fun about this book and its premise. I still adore Elin Hilderbrand's books, but this one was just a huge miss for me. 2 stars.

Profile Image for Tahseen Faruqi.
32 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2020
Well I did not like it , mostly because it made no sense . So Jake was the love of Mallorys life and visa versa but they made no attempts to be together . They just wanted to carry on an affair for 3 decades . Jake was pathetic cheating on his wife for 28 years , god just leave her , he really didn’t want Mallory either , Cooper was right he was just using her . And she’s also super pathetic , settling for 3 days a year ? She was a loser , hello move on .Plus she could have married him initially , and guess what ? It wouldn’t have lasted , it was an affair so it was exciting . There was truly nothing special about either main character .
Profile Image for Lacey.
209 reviews343 followers
September 6, 2020
It’s like a fairy tale. It’s like a game of Would You Rather? Would you rather have perfect bliss for only three days or a solid but dull relationship all year long? Mallory would choose Jake every time.

Okay. WELL. I don't even really know where to start, since 28 Summers left me with so many conflicting thoughts and feelings that I'm having a hard time disentangling and making sense of them all, leaving me at a total loss for words.

But first things first, I guess. Don't let the title of the book fool you. It's a total misnomer. Mal and Jake don't spend 28 summers together. They spend 28 weekends together, albeit long Labor Day weekends. It would have been more accurate had the book been called 28 Labor Days or even 28 Long Weekends. Granted, those titles aren't nearly as catchy as the one that was chosen, but at least they're more representative of Mal and Jake's time together.

This brings me to my greatest and only real grievance with 28 Summers: very little of the actual narrative is dedicated to covering Mal and Jake's time together. While the events of the story take place over 28 Labor Day weekends, we only see them together for maybe a quarter of those long weekends—and even that is a generous estimate. Most of the narrative focuses on their lives apart and covers their major life events each year, with only intermittent and brief accounts of their annual Labor Day encounters, which only grow more infrequent and briefer as the story goes on.

In a feat of mythic proportions, I somehow managed not to cry while reading the book, even though the ending absolutely gutted me. The prologue completely spoiled the ending, so you would think that I would've been better prepared for how it inevitably ended since I'd had the whole damn book to come to terms with it, but NOPE. I still found myself bitterly unprepared for the emotional havoc that the ending wreaked on my feelings. I absolutely hated it. But I loved it, too. I guess I'm just a masochist like that.

My heart hurts too much to dissect my thoughts on 28 Summers any further right now, except to say that cancer sucks and so does suffering caused by people not acting on—or, at the very least, sharing—their feelings. At the risk of sounding like a bad, clichéd inspirational quote on Pinterest, life is too goddamn short not to tell someone how you feel. Mal and Jake are literally the proof in the pudding.

Ugh. I haven't felt this empty after finishing a book since I read The Kremlin's Candidate last year.

I need a drink. Or five.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,606 reviews24.8k followers
July 18, 2020
This is my introduction to Elin Hilderbrand, an author that I am aware is loved by many and after reading this, an epic love story set mainly in Nantucket that just tugs on your heartstrings, I can understand why. It begins with Mallory Blessing, on her deathbed, asking her precious 19 year old son, Link, to call a phone number on a piece of paper she has kept in her desk drawer. Link has no idea who he is calling, but is so shocked when it is answered by Jake McCloud, the husband of the American presidential candidate, Ursula DeGournsey, that he ends the call. How could his mother possibly know Jake? Jake calls back and, on hearing the news that Mallory is dying, says he is coming.

Mallory and Jake have been seeing each other for 28 summers, meeting but once a year, over Labor weekend, replicating aspects of their first summer meeting in Nantucket in 1993 that become traditional, when Jake accompanied his best friend, Cooper, Mallory's brother, with friend Fray, coming to visit Mallory, at the beach cottage she had inherited from her Aunt Greta. They come to emulate the well known film, Same Time, Next Year, having separate lives, never contacting each other but for that once yearly meeting. The two of them know what they have is important, life changing and worth fighting for, as they commit to see each other once a year without fail, no matter what, throughout their lives, and indeed, despite the apparently insurmountable issues that conspire at times to ruin their plans, they manage to religiously keep their appointment. Starting in 1993, the narrative enacts their summers as the years go by, as they grow older, get married, have children, a love that costs Jake his best friend, and costs Mallory her longest friend from childhood, the more selfish and ambitious Leland Gladstone.

This is story of an epic emotive love, perhaps one that never loses its sheen and lustre through the humdrum and fractious every day lives of many marriages and relationships through time. Mallory and Jake know they love each other, even if it is a secret love, there is nothing that will stop them meeting, and, given the beginning of the novel, we know that we are in for a heartbreaking and tearful ending. Hilderbrand creates characters we come to care about, a love we believe in, the world shifts and changes, but their love remains, strong, trusted, never once in question, all playing out amidst the background of the most wonderful of locations, Nantucket, a perfect slice of paradise. Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
November 2, 2020
Oh, okay. So that's what all of the hype is about.

I just read 28 Summers , my first book by the amazingly popular Elin Hilderbrand, and almost immediately fell in love with it. I'm ready to read all of her books now!

Mallory Blessing is about to die from cancer, so she asks her son Link to call the number written on a piece of paper in her desk drawer. He can't believe who answers: Jake McCloud, who may very well become America's first First Gentleman, as his wife, Senator Ursula de Gournsey, is running for president. Link has no idea how Jake and his mother know each other, but Jake asks Link to tell Mallory to hang on, because he's on his way.

The story flashes back to the summer of 1993. Mallory has just inherited her aunt's cottage on Nantucket, so she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party over Labor Day weekend. She's excited that one of his best friends from college, Jake McCloud, is coming, because while she's never met him, she has a serious crush on him from some of the phone conversations they've had. When he arrives, their connection is immediate and the chemistry between them is intense. But he lives in Washington, DC, and has been dating his girlfriend on and off again since they were teenagers. How could anything ever work between them for real?

They make a pact that they'll get together every Labor Day weekend, regardless of their relationship status or whatever is going on in their lives. They don't keep in touch otherwise but they're always in each other's thoughts. Can the rest of their lives move on regardless of this arrangement? What does that mean for the presence of others, the possibility of other relationships, or future plans?

28 Summers was inspired by the classic movie Same Time, Next Year , and it's a powerful testament to love, friendship, family, parenthood, and the magic of romance. I wanted to shake the characters sometimes, but I just loved this story so much. It made me laugh, it made me hungry (they're always eating, it seemed), it made me long to visit Nantucket, and, of course, it made me cry.

I love the way Hilderbrand writes. Her storytelling is just so engaging, so warmhearted, and I found myself rooting for these characters. This book was exactly what I needed, and I read it in just a few hours. Can't wait to pick up another of her books!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,070 reviews3,613 followers
July 24, 2020
I’ve been aware of works by Elin Hilderbrand for years. I finally had the opportunity to read/listen to her latest and glad I did! I found it easy to lose myself in the lives of her characters.

You’ll travel along on the life journey of both Mallory and Jake. Beginning from the time they were teens, all the way through adulthood. 28 summers, to be precise.
Malory, along with her brothers best buddy Jake, embark on a Same Time Next Year affair that may have begun innocently, but gets rather complicated as their life moves forward. Spouses, children, careers and illness. Question is, can their love survive lifes’ many obstacles thrown their way?

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

I listened to the audio version of this book and was swept away on an adventure with Mallory and Jake
as they celebrate every Labor Day weekend.

I didn’t necessarily agree with the decisions that the characters made in their lives but…as a piece of fiction I allowed myself to go along with the story.

My only real drawback was that after witnessing the characters and how their love grew over all these years, the ending was just too abrupt for my liking. I can’t say more without spoilers, so let’s just say I expected more. (Maybe that’s just the hopeless romantic in me)😉

A buddy 🎧 with Susanne

Thank you to libro.fm
Profile Image for JanB .
1,146 reviews2,533 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 22, 2020
This was my first book by this author and while it wasn’t a bad book, it wasn’t all that great for me either. I listened to the audio, and the narrators were great. But when I stopped listening I wasn’t anxious to get back to it. Ultimately I just decided to let it go to the DNF file.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
July 12, 2020
A Brilliant Saga for All Ages!

Emotional and tear-jerking “28 Summers” by Elin Hilderband is a story that is captivating, compelling and all consuming.

The love affair between Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud begins in 1993, when Mallory’s brother, Cooper and his two best friends Fray and Jake visit Mallory in Nantucket on Labor Day weekend. Left to their own devices, romance ensues between Mallory and Jake. It is then that a promise is made ala “Same Time Next Year” wherein the two make a pact to be together every year in Nantucket on Labor Day weekend, no matter what.

This story follows Jake and Mallory’s lives for 28 years, through which the two have no contact except for the 3 days during Labor Day Weekend. When they are together, their hearts are one, each moment cherished. It is love: unabashed, romantic, deep and abiding, yet it only lasts for one weekend a year. Thereafter, we follow their lives and we discover how their affair impacts their family and friends for the next 28 years. Each summer together is spent adoring each other and every day in between is spent waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It is at times, beautiful, desperate, devastating, heart-wrenching, intense, lovely and unbelievable.

While I am not sure that this is fair, and I don’t think I’d agree to it, this, my friends, is fiction and I truly enjoyed listening to this extremely well written, beautifully plotted novel, even if I would never put myself in that position.

What I loved about this novel (my first Elin Hilderbrand by the way!) was the characters! They are all so very well drawn and each and every one of them added so much to this story. I adored the characters of Mallory, Linc, her brother Cooper and Jake and I even appreciated the character of Ursula.

“28 Summers” is an incredible “Saga” that reminded me of “The Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough. The complexities of Mal and Jake’s story, their sweeping love for each other, their inability to give each other up and the number of years their story lasted truly made for a stunning read that evoked the same feelings as Meggie and Father Ralph. I have never in my life read another novel that evoked similar feelings, thus it is to Ms. Hilderbrand’s credit that she was able to do so. This novel is sure to envelop your entire heart, make you smile and bring on the tears thus I highly suggest you have a hanky ready as you are most definitely going to need it.

This was a buddy listen with Kaceey!

Thank you to Libro.fm, Little Brown & Company and Elin Hilderbrand for the alc.

Published on Goodreads on 7.11.20.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,976 reviews1,508 followers
July 14, 2020
Title :- 28 Summers

After reading this lovely book I’m now bitterly regretting not visiting Nantucket when I was in Cape Cod on holiday! I might relocate! Mallory Blessing is lucky enough to inherit a beachside cottage from her beloved Aunt Greta. Dissatisfied with life in New York City and finding her roommate Leland a trial she relocates in 1993. Her brother Cooper visits one Labour Day weekend and she meets Jake McCloud and it’s love for life. Unfortunately, Jake can’t relocate, he’s been in an on off relationship with ambitious Ursula de Goursey who he later marries but his heart belongs to Mallory. However, the Labour Day weekend becomes their precious time in Nantucket and it settles in to a ‘same time next year’ relationship. The story is told over 28 summers from several perspectives.

I love that each year starts with a what are we talking about in ..... that particular year as it takes us through some momentous events, those who caught the headlines that year, music and films and so on. Doesn't take a genius to figure what the main topic of conversation for 2020 will be. The characters of Jake and Mallory are so likeable and it’s so frustrating that they have real love that is secret and hidden and you just want them to be together! Some of the characters are selfish, self centred and career driven such as Leland and Ursula but they make a great contrast to Jake and Mallory. The story is very well written with personal touches that makes you feel as if the author is talking to you or reading the words aloud just for you which makes you even feel more invested in the storytelling. The dialogue is smart, sometimes funny, at times it’s sad, there’s tragedy too so there’s the whole range of aspects of real life.

Overall, I loved it! Although the love between Jake and Mallory is a secret, it’s the real deal and so they do ‘fill their cups’ . The setting is wonderful and gives a fairy tale feel to the storytelling and like a lot of fairy tales there isn’t always a happy ending.

With thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC.
Profile Image for Brandice.
860 reviews
July 15, 2020
28 Summers had me torn between wanting to rush through this engaging story and making it last as long as possible. In her 25th novel, the Queen of the beach read has done it again!

In 1993, Mallory inherits a beach cottage on Nantucket and hosts a bachelor party for her brother, Cooper on Labor Day weekend. There she meets his fraternity brother, Jake, changing everything as the two of them instantly hit it off.

Mallory and Jake decide to make Labor Day weekend their thing, every year — No matter what. They keep this tradition for 28 years, experiencing the highs and lows of life in between each annual reunion. This includes other relationships, work, children, and grief — Timing is everything.

While I don’t condone adultery, I found it impossible not to like and root for Mallory and Jake. Despite knowing the ultimate outcome, revealed early on in the first chapter, the final chapter of the book got me — good.

28 Summers is a tumultuous story you can’t help but get swept up in and a perfect read for this time of year — Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Danielle.
809 reviews403 followers
April 18, 2023
I enjoyed the intro to each chapter- it was like a blast from the past 😎 This was a page-turner for me. I liked the setting and the characters. 😘 A forbidden romance- incredibly frustrating and heartbreakingly sad. I didn’t love the ending- but- I can’t stop thinking about the story. So for me, it’s the mighty five! ⭐️
Profile Image for Tiffany.
1,481 reviews7 followers
June 21, 2020
1 1/2 stars. I recently enjoyed a different book by this author, The Perfect Couple. My high expectations for this book were dashed.

What is good:
The author does a great job describing evocative summer scenes in Nantucket. And it was interesting to read the "What we are talking about this year" segments at the beginning of each chapter. But, that walk down memory lane could have been just as easily satisfied by a quick google search.

What does not work:
The off putting premise (meeting up once a year for a weekend affair, cheating on their significant other/spouse), the plot (it absolutely does not makes sense why the two main characters can't just be together if they are so enamored with each other and neither of the characters deals with any inner conflict about their behavior), the endless details about things which really are of no consequence, the main characters who are flaky and spineless, the narrative voice which inexplicably changes 1/3 of the way through the book, and more. Disappointing. I was ready for a light and fun summer read, but this was not the book.
Profile Image for Bridgett.
Author 20 books426 followers
July 7, 2020
What are we talking about in 2020? Australian fires, potential war with Iran, Harry and Megan, the impeachment trial, Kobe Bryant, Covid-19, Harvey Weinstein, Corona beer, China and Italy, Tom Hanks, Tiger King, hand washing, ventilators, TOILET PAPER, Kim Jong-Un, UFOs, locust swarms, murder hornets, monkeys stealing vials of Covid-19, asteroids, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, MASKS, statues, Sahara dust clouds...and it's only July.

If you can't get to the beach this summer, bring the beach to you with Elin Hilderbrand's 25th novel, 28 Summers. It's a lovely escape.

Right off the top...one of the things I loved was how each chapter began by discussing a specific year's highlights, from 1993 to 2020. This approach was clever, fun, and brought back so many great memories of the past couple decades. Inspired, I provided my own What are we talking about...? for 2020 above. (You're welcome.)

As usual, the setting made me want to permanently move to Nantucket...just for the food and ambiance. One description of picnic fare, in particular, had my mouth watering: “rare roast beef, Boursin, and arugula pinwheel sandwiches, chicken and potato sandwiches with celery and chives; a marinated cucumber salad from the Baltimore Junior League cookbook, and lemon bars with a coconut shortbread crust.” Freaking yum.

I really enjoyed all the characters this time which, admittedly, is unusual for me when it comes to EH's books. I also found myself smiling at all the brief mentions of people and businesses from her previous novels. It's always nice to revisit characters from past stories.

Unfortunately, something about this novel simply didn't grip me like the rest of the Hilderbrand library. Perhaps it's because we learn how the story ends within the first few paragraphs of the book? While I typically like that writing technique...in this instance, it was a bit depressing. I also felt there was some repetitive material, which is entirely expected when the plot involves two people meeting over Labor Day weekend each year...eating the same food, going to the same places, and participating in the same activities.

Due to the political nature of one of the characters, Ursula, there are many instances of politics being discussed, from both sides of the aisle. Normally I'm not a fan of authors inserting their political beliefs on their reader, but I felt the discussions here were relatively balanced.

Overall, I think most will enjoy this story and I'm happy to recommend it as a great summer read.

I selected 28 Summers as the July Book of the Month for my book club.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,138 followers
August 28, 2020
3.5 Stars.

It's no secret this story doesn't end well (from book summary) and we know the storyline is based on a "Same Time Next Year" movie scenario so perhaps that's why 28 Summers made me feel kind of down. I think not disclosing the ending up front would have worked better (for me) in this one.

As for the characters, I was ticked at Jake bc But what REALLY got to me and lowered my rating a whole star (almost more) was

The middle slowed down (for me) just a bit so I was glad when Hilderbrand slipped in a bombshell. That perked up the story again as well as the trip to Cooperstown and a couple home runs from heaven above.

I also thought EH did a wonderful job of bringing an atmospheric Nantucket to life, and really enjoyed how she began each year with historical facts of the time.

But, we never found out if Nice dedication for Dorothea Benton Frank who passed last year...so young. I've read many of her Sullivan Island novels; 28 Summers would have been right up her alley.

This is my seventh EH read and despite my one big issue with it, I still thought it a good summer read, but much preferred my recently read EH Summer of 69.

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews33 followers
August 26, 2020
Romantic love is messy in “28 Summers”.
.....This was my first experience reading (listening) to a book by Elin Hilderbrand.
I finally got curious because “28 Summers” has been the number one best seller on the New York Times list for weeks—- maybe months!

I’ve only read a few of the 33,000+reviews....
I was wondering if other readers thought ‘The Blazer’ ( car, not jacket)....
was an underdog rockstar, character? Ha! I kinda did.

The ending was sad—
The entire book was kind of sad—but.....entertaining & engaging.
These addictive types make wonderful companions while walking, cooking, gardening, pool soaking,
letting our mind absorb the dramatic-soap-opera-ish storytelling - (the humanness of human flaws),
and contemplate the various shenanigans.

The descriptions of the characters, the town, the food, parties, the weddings, the special intimate-Labor Day weekends rendezvouses,
were well written.
The emotions were too:
[desires, jealousy,
regrets, secrets, love, loss, anger, fears, sadness, guilt],
were heartfelt, and compelling.
Again: well written!

Readers gets to look at the consequences —of a secret life.
One weekend, once a year, for 28 years…is really stretching things.....
But that’s the wonderful world of fiction.

This book would have put Paul right to sleep.

I admit liking it — but maybe it’s a little bit like Chinese food ( ha, which Jake and Mallory ate once a year every Sunday night)....
It’s good going down… but hour later you’re hungry for something else.
Profile Image for Tinichix (nicole).
289 reviews47 followers
July 17, 2020
I am so bummed to be done with this book, but at the same time was racing to finish it to see how it ended. I LOVED this book. I am already rearranging in my head my list of top 10 that I have read so far this year to make room for this one. I did it on audio and the narrator was fantastic! A perfect fit for this story. Admittedly this is my first book by Elin Hilderbrand, and will not be my last. I know I must have been living under a rock. I do feel it will set the bar a little too high off the bat but will try to keep that in mind going forward with her other pieces of work. This book is based on the film “Same Time, Next Year”, and yes I intend to watch it. For 28 Summers Mallory and Jake not only watch the movie every Labor Day weekend, they also have a one-weekend-per-year affair. No communication. No calls, no texts, and no emails until they see each other the “same time next year”! So let's begin with the elephant in the room. The "affair". Even the synopsis tells us they have an affair. I think in order to really enjoy this book you may need to overcome that hurdle. If you can't get past the moral aspect for a fiction book your experience may not be the same. I jumped that hurdle and then dove right into this one and I really enjoyed it.

I can't say I loved most of the decisions both the main characters made over the course of the years, but isn't that life. We make decisions, we make mistakes, we carry on with life, we move forward. But somehow despite not loving their decisions I loved them as characters and loved them together and their long weekend each year. I found them to be normally flawed and real and this in turn made them all the more believable and relatable. I loved the chapter set up and how the author put us in each year as if we were there by noting historical news events and pop culture trends. I loved the references to books that fit the timelines and took special note of many of them that I had read or now intend to read. These touches within the chapters were unique in my opinion. While the overall concept of the book isn't entirely unique and original I think she did a great job of making it her own. It took me a few chapters to get used to the writing style, in places it was more like bullet points and observations, but it really grew on me and was fitting for the way their relationship was documented. The short bursts of information and updates matched the short bursts of time their relationship had. Each year I was curious to see how the Labor Day weekend would come into play and how it would present itself and it did so seemlessly, year after year. I was amazed at how little they genuinely knew about each other due to the restrictions they imposed on themselves for not contacting each other in between their annual weekend. I really liked the ending and have already recommended this book to friends and family. I can't wait to choose another book by this author.
Profile Image for Jean.
46 reviews
June 30, 2020
As an Elin Hilderbrand fan, I was extremely disappointed in this book. It glorifies extra-marital affairs to the point of trashy. The characters are so unlikable, showing no remorse or self worth. Their choices were illogical & with no explanation. I kept hoping the book & characters would redeem themselves, but they never did. The story was just depressing, including a combination of immorality, cancer, deaths, horrible friends, & of course politics. I get enough news & politics in the real world - I don’t need it in my summer reading!!! The author’s remake of the Kavanaugh nomination was so, so bad...
Profile Image for Nadia.
270 reviews175 followers
July 12, 2020
I always knew this was going to be good, but didn't dare to hope it would turn out to be a five star read for me.

28 Summers is a story of unfulfilled love between Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud who meet one summer in the Nantucket island and fall in love. Their romance doesn't last long as Jake has to return to his life in Washington while Mallory stays on the island where she now lives after inheriting a cottage from her aunt. Before they say goodbye, Mallory and Jake promise to each other to meet in Nantucket at the same time each year, no matter what. And that's how they secret love story starts...  

I have to say I haven't read many EH's books but the few I've read I loved. So what is it about Elin Hilderbrand's novels that totally sucks me in? The premise of 28 Summers is interesting but not ground breaking. So why couldn't I put the book down? It is the characters. The characters get me every time and this wasn't an exception. I fell in love with all of them, even the less likeable ones and I wanted to be there at every step of their lives, eager to know what happens next.

Easy to read, captivating and as the title suggests - the perfect summer book for this season. I'd say go and get yourself a copy now!

Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for my review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jayne.
514 reviews189 followers
May 12, 2023
5 Sizzling Facts
about “28 Summers"

1) Yet another beachy romance from Elin Hilderbrand, originally released in 2020.

2) The book's premise shares the same premise as the classic movie "Same Time, Next Year".

In "Same Time, Next Year", a man and woman are intimate with each other one weekend a year, with no communication between them during the year.

In "28 Summers", two lovers connect with each other in Nantucket on Labor Day weekend every year. The two protagonists watch the "Same Time Next Year" movie together annually. (UGH!)

The male lover is married so the couple’s “same time, next year" affair is an adulterous affair.

3) In the book’s prologue, the book's beloved and deeply flawed female protagonist dies of cancer at a young age. Per her request, her clandestine "same time, next year" lover is called to her deathbed.

I was disappointed that I knew the book’s ending prior to starting chapter one.

4) BEWARE: This book contained political dogma. Shame on you, Elin Hilderbrand!

Although I respect the author's political views, I don't enjoy reading any author’s political views in a fiction book.

5) BEWARE #2: Names of real Nantucket hotels and restaurants were cited in this book, AKA product placements. (Huh?)

The author slightly changed the name of the supreme court justice nominee she was bashing, but did not even attempt to change the name of Nantucket's White Elephant Hotel and other establishments

TO SUM UP: Elin Hilderbrand is a prolific and talented novelist.

After listening to this book, it seemed like she FINALLY ran out of topics to write about. (Ya think?)

The author's "borrowed" premise from a classic movie was lame and required a huge suspension of disbelief.

The author's feeble attempt to give the movie's premise her own spin that did not work.

By adultery Summer #3, I grew tired and was just not "getting" why the female protagonist didn't give her lover an ultimatum.

While the author’s recap of key news events each year was nostalgic, it was also wearisome. Quite frankly, it seemed like the author was using these yearly news recaps as filler material. (Did she have a word count to meet?)

I listened to the audiobook read by Erin Bennett. As usual, Erin Bennet's narration was superb.

2 stars for Elin’s "28"!
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,317 reviews
September 25, 2020
3.75 Nantucket Stars

This was the perfect end of summer book to read for me. With a great setting on Nantucket, this romance is the star-crossed tale of Jake and Mallory. They meet up every Labor Day on Nantucket and have a lifelong love affair. Can it count if it's just one weekend a year?

I thought this would be predictable, but there were some surprises and a few tears shed at the end. This was a good escapist read from the realities of life right now.

Profile Image for Sandra.
224 reviews50 followers
October 27, 2020
Elin Hilderbrand is another author I have been introduced to by my GR friends!
What a great holiday read, totally engrossing from start to finish. Well plotted and cleverly done .... Hilderbrand skilfully manages to holds your attention across the time span.
Mallory and Jake spend one blissful Labor Day weekend together. When they go back to their lives, they promise each other that every Labour Day weekend will be special and they will spend that time together on Nantucket. This lasts for 28 summers........
I loved the way each summer began with a brief run down of news events for that year - a lot I recognised, others were possibly more geared towards an American audience.
This was the type of book you can sink into and lose yourself in for hours at a time.....an unusual love story that even an old cynic like me bought into !
It’s persuaded me to explore other books by this author...... also Nantucket has now been added to my list to places I want to visit !
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
773 reviews4,644 followers
July 7, 2020
A forbidden love story that will have you feeling so invested in the characters you almost forget it’s also a tale of adultery. ⁣

I listened to the audio of this amazing book (thank you librofm) and I was smitten with Mallory and Jake. Listening to their love story unfold over one magical long weekend in Nantucket, year after year, for 28 years both broke my heart and filled it up. ⁣

Based on the film 𝘚𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘕𝘦𝘹𝘵 𝘠𝘦𝘢𝘳 , we are captivated by their love story, despite the fact they can never truly be together. What a moral dilemma this story poses - both for Mallory and Jake and for us readers! Do we root for them? Should we feel happy they have this time together despite the wrongness of infidelity and their deceit? You’re left wondering how something so wrong can feel so right because despite all this, I was all in you guys - 𝘯𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵! This love story had me hooked. ⁣

A perfect summer read that will have you wishing you were on the beach in Nantucket. Highly recommend this one and it’s definitely one of my new fave Elin Hilderbrand books! ⁣
Profile Image for Diane Rowland.
18 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2020
Unlikable characters, no reason for Jake and Mallory not to be together, so unbelievable also, and unbearable political garbage. If you’re a conservative don’t bother with this book.
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